Decision Delays Have Consequences

Later today (9/10/08), The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will be receiving a report regarding the localities revenue shortfall.  Brandon Shulleeta of The Daily Progress reports the anticipated shortfall to be $4.1 Million dollars

… schools are expected to take the biggest hit — $2.4 million — and officials hope to absorb the blow while protecting classrooms.

“At this point, schools have cut their budgets 10 percent and all departments have cut their budgets 10 percent,” county schools spokeswoman Maury Brown said.

All of this raises the question regarding the significant loss of retail sales tax revenue that is now leaking out of Albemarle County to Short Pump (Henrico County), Waynesboro, and other localities. 

While we do not take positions on individual projects The Free Enterprise Forum has followed the slow laborious process of commercial project approval in Albemarle County.  Some in the community were arguing that there is too much existing retail in Albemarle others were busy dictating significant design demands beyond the normal scope of many potential retail operations.  These constituencies, and the bureaucratic planning process slowed many project approvals until such a time the economic conditions were no longer appropriate for retail expansion.

While Albemarle County fiddled, Waynesboro embraced such retailers as Home Depot and others in their expanding retail corridor.  It is little wonder that Waynesboro’s retail sales tax revenue is increasing as Albemarle’s continues to shrink.

A number of individuals familiar with this industry have told the Free Enterprise Forum that the retail tax revenue from a couple major shopping centers could generate in excess of the $4.1 million shortfall Albemarle is now facing.

Decision delays have consequences. 

The question to the community, now facing a budget shortfall and cuts in services, is the delay worth the price paid?

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